Noel Gourdin: Grounded

Whoever said real rhythm and blues was dead evidently did not get the memo regarding newcomer Noel Gourdin. At the age of fifteen, when most young men are focused on video games, Gourdin aggressively began pursuing a career in the music industry as a singer/songwriter. Fast forward nearly ten years, a series of chance meetings lead Gourdin to the opportunity of a lifetime; a major label deal with Columbia Records. His music captures the essence of old soul and infuses it with a new school flair. This Brockton, Massachusetts native credits both his mother and step father as guiding forces in his life especially when it comes to his love of music. Singersroom sat down with this rising talent to discover more about the man and his music.

Singersroom: Tell me about your name. It’s quite unique?

Noel Gourdin: It is. It came from my biological father’s side of the family. [He’s] Cherokee and Seminole Indian. But I really don’t talk to my biological [father] anyway. The only time I ask about [him] is to my moms, and she says, “I married the man because I loved him.” As far as Noel, that comes from the Bible. I got teased about it all the time; kids would sing “The First Noel.” How Gourdin got there, I really don’t know.

SR: It definitely works. Who’s your major influence when it comes to your love for music?

NG: It was actually my mom and step pops. She’s been a lasting influence in my life. Not just with music. She said anything that I want, I can do it. I believe I can do anything. When I was younger we would take these drives down to Mississippi. My step father would be playing all these tapes. So in the car headed down south, I was just memorizing all these tapes. I was around five or six years old [when] they noticed I had a capacity for music.

SR: When did you decide to make music a fulltime thing?

NG: I was fifteen years old. I have been really going hard trying to write my own music for the last ten, eleven years. I met up with the right people; I met my manager Larry “Lucky” Fernandes in Brockton, Massachusetts. Our families are really close, we’re almost cousins. He was like, “yo man I know some people.” He was always out of state going to LA [and other places]. Out in Rhode Island, he knows this cat named T.O. (Tommy Oliveria). He was a rapper in the past, [and he] had worked with Kay Gee from Naughty [By Nature].

SR: So that’s how you linked up with Kay Gee?

NG: Right, and that’s how it started. My manager took me down to T.O., then we went down to see KG and he took a liking to me. He called me the new age Sam Cooke. He got me a song placement on “The Cookout” Soundtrack. Ever since then, we have had a real bond. KG is just a cool, down-to-Earth, talented brother. I’ve just been blessed to meet all these people who are so down-to-earth and humble.

SR: Who’s music have you been influenced by?

NG: My pops always listened to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Elvis. He loved Elvis. To look at groups like that…it just leaves a lasting effect on me. The Rolling Stones are still doing it, and Elvis’ music is still around. Prince is my all time favorite. I think his music crossed boundaries and will never die out. He’s my definition of timeless. When I was younger my older brother was listening to Troop, Ready For the World, early 90’s R. Kelly. I also love hip hop. I love Mob Deep. I like Redman. I like a lot of the older hip-hop like Eric Sermon and A Tribe Called Quest. I even listen to Nickelback and Three Doors Down. All across the board I just love music.

SR: How did you connect with Sony?

NG: We met up with this dude Rob Carosa. He was like, “Yo, I can walk ya’ll into Sony.” So we walked into Sony and we sat down with Chad Elliot (Columbia Records VP.) KP (Sony Urban A&R Exec) walked in and was like, “Don’t go nowhere.” [KP] [set up a] showcase with Donny Ienner (President and CEO of SonyBMG) and all the execs. [We had the showcase] and it went down beautiful. We ended up signing on November 15, 2005, and ever since then, we’ve been working on the album.

SR: Tell me about the album. What can we expect?

NG: We feel really strongly about the album. To me, the tracks are all timeless. You can listen to them now or you can listen to them ten years from now and get the same feeling. The work is eclectic, it goes all over the place. We don’t just talk about love, we talk about how relationships evolve. [With the track “Make the Most,”] we talk about how you never know when people are gonna be gone. There’s another [track] called “Too Late” which is talking about [doing things I should not have done, and how I shouldn’t have let you leave]. The music is vulnerable, but its not saying that I am any less of a man to show my vulnerable and emotional side. It shows a side of me as a man that I don’t think a lot of people out there are showing.

Noel Gourdin

SR: Tell me about Noel Gourdin as an artist?

NG: I like to be real with people. I wanna be known as a person that is [thankful to his fans]. Whoever buys my music or checks out a show, I am truly thankful. I [like] to make a connection with my fans. It seems like [artists] after the first or second album tend to take their fans for granted. You can hear that in the way they talk. I want to stay true, stay true to my fans, stay true to myself. Image is a funny word sometimes. I just want to be myself. Images can make an artist lose touch with themselves, [because] they gotta keep up with the façade. I just want to be true to myself and true to my family. I don’t want them to read something somewhere and be like, “that’s not him.” I don’t dig that. If anybody can just be themselves and not be tainted by this industry, I think the better off they will be. I know the better off I’ll be! Everybody [tells me,] “Yeah, we’ll see. About a year from now you won’t be giving the same answers.” (laugh)

SR: Yeah, like you won’t pick up your phone or you’re going to change your cell phone number.

NG: I’m hearing all of this. But me is me. You know I was raised a certain way. If that happens, my grandmother, my mother, and my pops will kick my ass. (laugh)

SR: How does it feel now that you are really starting to generate some buzz through various media outlets?

NG: You know what, I am taking it a day at a time. It’s been a long time coming and I am so glad that it’s finally happening. My face is starting to get out there, my music is reaching further than it ever has before. I’m just trying to keep working. As hard as we’ve been working, I wanna push it further. I wanna keep working to stay in the public eye. I just wanna keep making good music and keep making people turn and follow. It is surreal in a sense because I was just used to working on a little beat machine in my kitchen. To where it’s gotten, its surreal. I don’t want it to stop, so I’m going to keep working…hard.

SR: When is your album coming out?

NG: Speaking, it’s coming out the end of May/early June. The single should be dropping at the end of [April.] It’s going to be hot, it’s going to be crazy. I’m looking forward to it.

SR: Five years from now, what do you hope people are saying about Noel Gourdin?

NG: His music is crazy. It’s so heartfelt, it’s like a blast from the past but it’s still got this edginess that keeps it [relevant] to today’s issues. I want them to still be able to pick up my first album and still say it was hot. I want to be able to inspire people. I love to inspire people, to touch someone’s life…that means the world to me because I know how [people have inspired me]…like my pops and moms for instance. Inspiration is just something that can turn your whole life around. I would want people to say that I am a good person and I try make real good, down home, soulful R&B music.

SR: Are you on an official promotional tour yet?

NG: Not yet, we’re trying to land a couple of dates but nothing’s etched in stone as of yet. I just want people to know they can check me out online and hook to my myspace page from my Web site. Definitely hit me up. I like to reply to my myspace people as much as I can.

SR: That’s not gonna last. People having that sort of access to you is gonna get a little crazy.

NG: (laugh) Nah, it’s gonna get a little crazy but after a show, I can set a certain amount of time for that. Like five minutes, I can do that. I’m going to try.

SR: Alright, I’m going to quote you on that, you said it!

NG: I said it! I’m tellin you, Ima try now (laugh)

For more information on Noel Gourdin visit: —— By: Interview By Waine Youn


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